Children's LiteratureLasky brings her usual fine prose to the service of Joshua Slocum, who loved the sea from his childhood until his disappearance at sea some sixty years later. But readers must wait until the last page to learn that Slocum was the first person to circumnavigate the globe alone. The voyage took three years to complete and he did it in a boat he rebuilt from an old sloop. What readers come away with is a sense of lifelong devotion to the sea and the single-mindedness that Slocum possessed to keep sailing, even though gas, steam and electricity were beginning to power everything. This short biography is amply illustrated with Krudop's oil paintings, which often suggest rather than delineate the sea, the long shape of Slocum, and his family aboard ship. The story works well with social studies units on the industrial period to the early Twentieth Century, and should appeal to all would-be adventurers, including those who work with their hands as well as their wits. An epilogue states that Slocum died at sea, convinced that even if he did learn to swim, if the sea wanted him, it would come and get him. It did. 2001, Orchard Books, $16.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer:Susan Hepler
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 1-4-A fine, beautifully rendered book. In the mid-1800s, 14-year-old Slocum ran away to sea to escape the drudgery of his father's boot shop. By the time he was 25, he was a sea captain. Married life and child rearing took place aboard ship. Nine chapters take readers through the Slocums' travels and adventurous experiences. Oil paintings, many of which are full- or double-page, capture the bold feel of this story. However, readers may be left wanting a bit more detail about some of the incidents and events described. Also, there is no glossary for words that may need some explanation, such as brigantines and Chinese junk. No source notes are included, although Slocum's autobiography and biography are quoted at the head of several chapters. However, these concerns are minor. This is a wonderful story, remarkably illustrated, especially suited for classroom reading.-Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsYoung readers intrigued by the brief encounter with Slocum, the first man to sail solo around the world, in Robert J. Blake's Spray (1996) will welcome this expanded look at the life of one of the Age of Sail's last great seamen. A full captain by the age of 25, Slocum sailed many ships, raised his family on some of them, undertook his epic voyage on a 36-foot sloop he rebuilt himself, and ultimately disappeared at sea. Drawing from Slocum's memoirs, still in print after more than a century, Lasky (Starring Lucille, see below, etc.) focuses on storms, shipwrecks, mutinies, exotic ports of call-and also his doughty wife Virginia, whose facility with a revolver came in handy more than once. The salt breeze seems to flow from Krudop's (My Great-Grandmother's Gourd, 2000, etc.) impressionistic, thickly brushed scenes of tall ships and ramrod straight figures in 19th-century dress. Lasky, a veteran sailor herself, sends children on a voyage they won't soon forget, with a man for whom land never meant "home." (Biography. 10-13)
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